Beauty of Somme masks horrors of past

Beauty of Somme masks horrors of past
By admin


Passing through the serene, colourful countryside of northern France, it's almost impossible to fathom the horror that came a century before.

Bright yellow, blooming canola fields and immaculate green fields line the winding roads, masking the bloodshed from World War I that will always be connected to these lands.

The Western Front in France and Belgium, where 46,000 Australians died between 1914 and 1918, was once a picture of carnage, a battleground of trench warfare described as a "muddy hell" by those who fought there.

Today, the beauty of the area is striking to those who come to visit the many war cemeteries and battlefields.

"There's a real dichotomy," says Major-General David Chalmers, the chief executive of Anzac Day services in France.

"On the one hand it's beautiful … yet the soil here at Pozieres for example (where 23,000 Australians died) is the piece of ground most soaked with Australian blood.

"In some ways, it's really hard to be here on a beautiful afternoon and try to imagine the fighting that occurred here."

Major-General Chalmers, though, believes visiting the battlefields is the only way to get any sort of grasp of what the diggers went through during The Great War.

Increasing numbers of Australians are travelling to the region and both French and Australian authorities have made ongoing efforts to enhance the experience.

The Australian Remembrance Trail project links cemeteries, memorials and museums at the sites of many significant battles across the Western Front.

"For me there's only one way to see and comprehend what happened and that was to go to the battlefield and to stand on the ground and to read the material that's available there and through guide books and websites," Major-General Chalmers said.

"We can never really understand the horror of the Western Front, but by visiting each of the locations, we can get some idea what it was like."

Many Australians have arrived in the region this week and an expected crowd of more than 4000 will commemorate Anzac Day at Friday's dawn service at the Australian National Memorial, located on the outskirts of Villers-Bretonneux.

Latest News

  • Conferences

Crikey! Celebrity’s Robert Irwin confirmed as speaker for World Travel & Tourism Council

Environmentalist and newly minted TV personality (I’m a Celebrity) Australia Zoo’s Robert Irwin has been confirmed for World Travel & Tourism Council, the world’s biggest tourism summit in Perth (Boorloo) this October. The WTTC Global Summit is taking place from 8-10 October at Crown Perth under the theme “Ancient Land: New Perspectives” to showcase Western […]

  • Cruise

Kimberley Coast Experience with three nights in Broome

Cruise Traveller offers an exclusive offer that takes travellers  to the magnificent Kimberly Coast, and includes a three-night stay in Broome with French luxury cruise ship operator, Ponant. Head to the remote and rugged Kimberley, with its thundering waterfalls, towering gorges, sacred rock art, and abundant wildlife aboard a small but luxurious ship. The experience […]

  • Hotels
  • Luxury

Dior returns to The Beverly Hills Hotel for a summer exclusive

The legendary ‘Pink Palace’, The Beverly Hills Hotel, once again partners with Dior and offers the exclusive Dior Spa Residency and Dioriviera pop-up boutique to guests. The Beverly Hills Hotel general manager, John Scanlon, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Dior again to create an alluring experience that is as stylish as it is […]

  • Hotels
  • Luxury

Celebrate Sofitel Sydney’s 60th anniversary with a Diamond Experience Competition

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour celebrates six remarkable decades of delivering luxurious services worldwide by launching its Diamond Experience, promising an unparalleled and elegant stay. Located next to the dynamic International Convention Centre, the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour offers sophisticated settings at each of its 590 luxurious rooms, including 35 lavish suites. The various accommodation options […]

  • Hotels

Hoiana Resort and Golf launches Vibrant Summer Vibes Campaign

Vietnam’s premier luxury entertainment resort, Hoiana Resort and Golf, launches its Vibrant Summer Vibes Campaign which offers unforgettable activities with four 5-star hotels, golf and 24-hour entertainment. Hoiana Resort and Golf is a haven of local hospitality, world-class service, and magnificent accommodations. They boast of over 1,000 rooms, more than 20 luxury restaurants and bars, […]